What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are the class of viruses that were first identified in the 1960s. Corona means a crown and they get their name from their crown-like shape. Coronavirus is known to infect animals but sometimes, coronavirus can infect both animals and humans. However, there is little to no knowledge about where they come from.
Most coronaviruses spread in a similar fashion as other cold-causing viruses do which is through infected people coughing and sneezing. Coronavirus is also spread by touching an infected person’s hands or face or by touching things such as door knobs, lift buttons and utensils that infected people have touched or used.
Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child. Often a coronavirus causes upper respiratory infection. The common symptoms after a coronavirus infection are stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat. All these symptoms can be treated with rest and over-the-counter medications. Coronavirus has also reported to cause middle ear infections in children.
Is there a new coronavirus?
Yes, there are reports of a new strain of Coronavirus. In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Recently this virus has caused in epidemic in China and has reportedly spread to other parts of the world.
Where did the new virus originate from?
Many health authorities are still trying to research and determine the origin of the virus. Many scientists believe that the virus came from a seafood sources and was spread first in sea food market in Wuhan, China. It is also reported that wildlife was also traded illegally in Wuhan.
World health organisation also says that an animal source appears to be the most likely cause and a primary source of the outbreak of Coronavirus infection. According to Chinese scientists, snakes such as the Chinese krait and the cobra are also suspected to be a potential source of the newly discovered virus.
How do Coronavirus infections spread?
Human coronaviruses usually spreads from an infected person to another through various routes such as
- The air, by coughing, spitting and sneezing.
- Via close personal contact, such as touching, kissing, sharing bed or shaking hands.
- Touching an object or surface that has been touched by someone who is infected.
- Touching something contaminated (with the virus on it) and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
- Coming in contact with an infected person’s body fluids.
- Rarely by faces.
How long does it take for someone to get sick?
The new coronavirus’s incubation period is still unknown. Incubation period means the time it takes from a person being from infected with the virus to the time when they start showing symptoms. For the coronavirus this incubation period is still unknown.
It’s still very much unclear whether a person is contagious during the incubation period. However, doctors and health experts are working under the assumption that the incubation period may be about 14 days.
What are the common symptoms of Coronavirus infection?
The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to many other upper respiratory tract infections.
Symptoms commonly include runny nose, coughing, sore throat accompanied by sometimes a fever. In most cases, it can be confusing and hard to determine whether someone is suffering from a coronavirus infection or from a different cold-causing Virus, such as rhinovirus.
In order to find out whether you have a common viral infection or coronavirus infection you need to get several lab tests done. Some of these lab tests include nose and throat cultures and blood work. For these tests to be done, throat and nasal secretions are collected and tested by medical professionals. These test results are important to determine the source of infection and course of treatment.
A coronavirus infection can also spread to the lower respiratory tract which is your windpipe and your lungs. This may result in a serious condition as it can cause pneumonia. This is seen especially in older people or physically weak people. People with heart disease, or people with weakened immune systems are at a high risk of infection.
Here are some symptoms you should look for – p
- Sore throat
- Running nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Hoarseness in voice
- Pneumonia like symptoms
How deadly is the coronavirus ?
Some scientists and experts say that the new coronavirus might not be as deadly as other types of coronavirus such as SARS. SARS is a type of Coronavirus which has killed nearly 800 people worldwide and more than 300 in China alone. This was during a 2002-03 outbreak that also originated in China.
MERS is also another strain of Coronavirus which did not spread as widely but was more deadly as it ended up killing more than one-third of the people that it infected.
What are the treatment options available to treat coronavirus infection?
The main treatment is supportive care while immune system does most of the job of making health better.
Supportive care includes making sure that the patient is getting enough oxygen. Oxygen masks can be used to achieve this and ventilator can also be used to push air into the lungs if necessary.
Doctors recommend that patients suffering from coronavirus infection should rest and drink plenty of fluids.
So far no drugs have been approved to treat any coronavirus diseases, including the new Wuhan coronavirus that has caused an epidemic in China.
However an antiviral medication called remdesivir is used and appears to be effective, but only in animals. Chinese officials are experimenting to create a drug combination with at least one other H.I.V. drug to treat the infection.
Is there a Coronavirus vaccine?
There is no specific treatment regime followed for the treatment of the new virus, and there is also no vaccine developed so far to prevent it.
The National Institutes of Health confirmed that there is however a vaccine that is tried to be made and it’s still in the very preliminary stages of development and research. National institute of health further declined to provide any other details.
In addition, the drug company Regeneron is in the early stages of work on a potential treatment for this coronavirus. The company previously developed a similar treatment for Ebola.
Can domestic pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
At present, there is no solid evidence which can support that household companions such as animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus and spread it.
However, it is always a good idea and very important to wash your hands with soap and water after indulging in any activity or coming in contact with your pets.
Hand washing also protects you against other various common bacteria and parasite. Bacterias such as E.coli and Salmonella can pass between pets and humans and cause various diseases.
What age groups does the new coronavirus target? Does the new coronavirus affect only older people, or are younger people also under the risk?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). However, old people are more at risk due to weaker immune system.
Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other immune related disorders appear to be more vulnerable. Old people infected with coronavirus and becoming severely ill.
WHO therefore strongly advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus. This can be done by following a good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus infection ?
No, antibiotics only work against bacteria and have no effect against viruses. The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and therefore, antibiotics should are not suggested to be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if someone is hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV infection they may you receive antibiotics because a potential bacterial is also possible along with viral infection. In such cases treatment of bacterial infection is important to reduce the symptoms.
Are there any specific medicines developed recently to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
There is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
However, those infected with the virus should –
- Receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms.
- Those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care.
Some specific treatments are also under research and investigation. They will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is also helping to accelerate research in order to create a good drug that can be used to treat coronavirus infection.
Can household disinfectants kill the coronavirus?
Yes, disinfectants can kill coronavirus and reduce the spread.Doctors suggest that anyone exposed to an infected patient, should immediately clean all high-touch surfaces, such as counters, chairs, tabletops, doorknobs, lift buttons, bathroom fixtures, toilets, laptops, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables in order to reduce the risk of spread and transmission of Coronavirus. Cleaning agents that can be used include any household disinfectant with a label that reads “EPA-approved”. A homemade version of disinfectant can be made, using one tablespoon of bleach to one quart of water. Using disinfectant is an important decision to safeguard your surroundings.
Does wearing a face mask prove to be beneficial in protecting yourself from coronavirus infection ?
World health organisation and doctors recommend that patients with the coronavirus infection must wear a face mask to protect others around them.
In case, if the patient cannot wear a face mask, then other people around the patient should wear face masks if they are in the same room together.
Caregivers like nurses, paramedics, doctors and health care professionals along with people living in the same house along with someone who is sick should also wear disposable face masks.
Protective gear such as disposable gowns should be properly worn when coming into contact with the patient’s bodily fluids.
For health care workers that frequently come in contact with coronavirus patients, a more specialized type of mask is recommended. It is a special mask that is individually fitted to a person’s face to create a seal. This mask created a seal and then filters out 95 percent of particles that at least 0.3 microns in diameter. This type of mask is called N95 and is very beneficial to the health care workers.
How to assure complete protection from coronavirus infection ?
WHO has issued some standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to transmission of Coronavirus. These recommendations also reduce the chances of spread of a range of illnesses. The recommendations include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices.
In order to stay protected follow these things –
- Frequently clean hands from time to time.
- Clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub.
- Clean hands by using soap and water;
- Cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing.
- Cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue while sneezing or coughing.
- Throw the used tissue away immediately.
- Wash hands wash hands immediately.
- Avoid close contact with anyone around you that has fever, sore throat and cough.
- If you are suffering from fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty in breathing seek medical care immediately.
- Visit the hospital as early as possible and share your previous travel history with the health care provider.
- Avoid visiting seafood markets, butcher shops.
- If you’re visiting markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
- Completely avoid the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products.
- Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care by sellers, buyers and butchers.
- All safety measures must be taken to avoid cross-contamination of cooked food with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
Source :- WHO
Scientists and health authorities around the world are racing to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. Thousands of people are already suffering as they have contracted the new coronavirus, which causes respiratory illness. The virus has taken its toll on people and the number of cases that have resulted in death are rising daily. On 30 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus infection outbreak a “public-health emergency of international concern”. WHO uses this as an alarm and it reserves it for events that pose a risk to multiple countries and which requires a coordinated international response.